Teen's livestock take county, state honors Rare double-play meant hard work WEST COUNTY -- Clarksville * Highland * Glenelg * Lisbon

September 02, 1993|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Staff Writer

When teams discover star players in baseball, they give them long contracts and top dollars. It's not the same in the world of beef cattle competition.

If a steer wins top honors at a county fair, it gets sold and slaughtered. For most 4-H Club members, that means they have forget going after the big prize at the State Fair in Timonium.

But this year, Scott E. Mullinix, a 16-year-old Lisbon-area resident, had some depth to his beef cattle roster.

One of his steers was named state grand champion steer this week -- two weeks after another steer won Scott the grand champion trophy at the Howard County Fair -- to lead Howard County in a near-sweep of the 4-H livestock competition at the State Fair.

"That's a really hard thing to do, to have a champion in the county fair . . . and then be able to win in the state fair. That's a big accomplishment," said Bruce Brendle of Daisy, a beef cattle farmer.

Scott spent two hours each afternoon for the last nine months feeding, hosing down and blow-drying three steers, one heifer, five pigs and four lambs.

The state grand champion was a 1,210-pound Maine-Anjou and Angus cross named Bull.

The difficulty in winning in both arenas stems from the rule that grand champions in the county fair must be sold immediately, so they can't compete in the state fair.

To prepare for the two contests, Scott went to his uncle Jimmy Mullinix's farm each afternoon to feed Bull his protein-rich ration of corn, barley, oats and hay. And he also had to take the same care of 1,201-pound Al, the county fair champion, and Molly, who took state reserve champion honors among beef heifers, and 1,235-pound Spot, who took third place in the 1,220-pound to 1,250-pound cross-bred class.

The animals were second-generation 4-H winners, offspring of champion heifers raised by Scott's cousin, Tim. Tim had grand champions in two out of the past four years, said his father, Jimmy Mullinix.

With that in mind, Scott practically took the animals on tour, showing them and winning grand champion honors this year at the Wills Spring Fair at the Howard County Fairgrounds and the Shippensburg,Pa., livestock show. He also won reserve champion (second to grand champion) at an open show in Bedford County, Pa.

Pondering his victories in his Justin Roper boots and green Wrangler jeans, Scott said the competition is good for building his self-esteem.

"First you have to learn to lose, then you learn to win, and I think that's a very important thing in life," said Scott, a Glenelg High School junior.

Scott's mother, Barbara Mullinix, was especially proud of the fact that her son had been noticed for his work behind the scenes, for such things as helping other 4-H students with their projects. The qualities of cooperation, courtesy and helpfulness earned her son the Jenny Olson Spirit Award at the county fair.

As a reminder of Olson, and Jennifer Turner, who were both involved in 4-H and were killed in traffic accidents last year, Scott and his fellow Howard County 4-H participants wore yellow and pink ribbons at the State Fair.

Among Scott's fellow competitors from Howard, the biggest was probably the smallest, that is, Mr. Brendle's 9-year-old son, Joe.

A fourth-grader at Lisbon Elementary School, Joe won grand champion market hog his first year competing at the state fair.

His dad said he could boast of showing a grand champion steer back in the mid-1960s, "but that was one of my last years out."

Other Howard 4-H winners in Timonium this week included Randy Mullinix, 17, of Woodbine, (who is not related to Scott E. Mullinix) with the champion Hereford steer; Ryan Orndorff, 11, of Dayton, with the champion Simmental steer; Eric Stonesifer, 9, of West Friendship, with the champion Angus heifer; Michelle Blackert, 14, of Mount Airy, with the champion Hereford heifer.

"Howard County's done really well, very well," said Martin Hamilton of the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service in Howard County.

Fielding about 80 competitors, the county went up against youth from all 23 Maryland counties and came away with champions in two of the three most important livestock categories: steers, market lambs and market pigs, Mr. Hamilton said.

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